When your child is running a FEVER
which statement below sounds most like your response?
1. “We need to lower this fever because it can be dangerous, grab the Tylenol!”
2. “Great! My child’s body is fighting this infection the way it is designed to do!”
Interesting, right? Two very differing beliefs on the same topic! I would guess that most parents relate best with option #1 due to the anxiety of having a child who is sick- it’s heartbreaking to watch your babies be uncomfortable! But unfortunately, quickly lowering a fever may not be the best option in all situations and can actually weaken your child's immune system over time. Many parents are simply not aware of what fevers are intended for and why they are an important function of the immune system.
Disclaimer: There are indeed instances where fevers are best managed by medical intervention; i.e. when your child has a pre-existing condition that results in already weakened immune state, etc. However, be aware that most fevers are natural responses to infection, and are quick to be treated with over-the-counter medications, that can weaken future immune responses when not necessary.
Let’s use an example… Say you are camping out in the middle of nowhere and have no more clean water or purification devices. What do you do?
You would boil gathered water from the local stream to kill all the harmful bacteria.
This is exactly what our body is doing when we have a fever. Your body is so innately intelligent that it knows exactly how to kill off harmful bacteria and viruses when sick. We should be happy we have this automatic response; it means your body has detected that something harmful has invaded it!
Next time your child has a fever, try to view things a little differently before jumping straight for the medicine cabinet. Most fevers will worsen at night, and will relieve within approximately 12-hours. Below are some strategies to help your child stay comfortable while fighting off foreign bacteria with the natural superpower of a FEVER!
1. Let your child sleep- increased fatigue is a normal sign of illness.
2. Keep your child hydrated- despite nausea, encourage your child to stay hydrated to decrease risk of dehydration and further complications.
3. Set up a comfortable spot- when your child is more comfortable (surrounded by pillows, blankets, and their favorite items) they are better able to rest and keep their mind off of the fever.
4. Get your child adjusted by a chiropractor ASAP- Chiropractors detect and correct stress on your nervous system. Once stress is removed, your body is able to work stronger and more effectively (including your immune system!).
5. Continue to monitor your child’s symptoms- change is a good thing; however be aware of worsening symptoms such as fevers reaching over 104 degrees, unresponsiveness, and/or twitching. Complications such as seizures and meningitis are rare; however if your motherly instincts detect something wrong please contact your health provider.